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Duterte, Xi Jinping set to sign loan deals for Kaliwa Dam, other infra projects

The Philippine government is set to secure financing deals with China for the P18.724-billion New Centennial Water Source - Kaliwa Dam Project, among others, this week during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the loan signing for the project is expected to happen in Manila during the visit of Xi.

"Loan signing scheduled on the state visit of China President Xi Jinping on November [20 to 21], 2018," the MWSS said in its official website.

Xi arrived in the country Tuesday, marking his first state visit to the Philippines as Manila and Beijing seek to strengthen ties.

The proposed project up for financing from China seeks to provide water security, reliability, and additional supply for Metro Manila.

Under the project, additional water supply will be sourced from the Kaliwa-Kanan-Agos River basin as an alternative water source to the Angat dam, which is currently the lone water source for the area.

The Kaliwa dam project was supposed to be rolled out under the public-private partnership (PPP) initiative, but the government has since changed its terms to be financed through official development assistance (ODA).

The pre-qualified bidders for the project were SMC-K Water Consortium (San Miguel Holdings Corp. and Korea Water Resources Corp.), and the Abeima-Datem Consortium (Albeinsa Infraestructura Medio Ambiento S.A. and Datem Inc.)

Aside from the Kaliwa dam, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno in August said at least 10 loan financing deals are set to be inked during the visit of Xi.

  • North-South Railway-South Line (Long Haul), amounting to P175.3 billion or $3.279 billion. The project involves the construction and subsequent maintenance and operation of a 581-kilometer standard-gauge long-haul from Los Baños to Matnog and a branch line from Calamba to Batangas.
  • Safe Philippines Phase 1, worth P20.313 billion or $380.05 million. It involves the construction of an integrated command center for the 911 public safety answering point, 18 city-level command centers in Metro Manila and Davao, video surveillance system linked via a dedicated communications infrastructure, and data center with a remote data backup center.
  • Subic-Clark Railway, worth P57.163 billion or $1.069 billion. The project involves the construction of a 65-kilometer rail traversing through the right-of-way Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Subic Freeport Expressway.

During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Beijing in 2016, China has committed to provide $9 billion in loans for Philippine infrastructure projects.

However, only one loan agreement has been signed with China since then—the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, worth P4.372 billion or $81.81 million.

Diokno earlier this week said the number of infrastructure deals set to be signed this week will not be lessened, even amid remarks of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III that loan deals with Beijing will be reviewed. —LDF, GMA News